Crime & Courts

SC Hells Angels ringleader sentenced for drug, gun crime ring

A motorcycle club ringleader whose drug dealing, gun running and kickbacks were the springboard for police to infiltrate and break apart a crime ring run by the Rock Hill Hells Angels was sentenced to 17 1/2 years in prison Wednesday afternoon in federal court, according to court documents and court officials.

The biker’s wife also was sent to prison for 7 years for her role in the crime wave that was dismantled after 20 Hells Angels and associates were arrested in a raid in both Carolinas in June 2012.

Dan “Diamond Dan” Bifield, 61, was sentenced after pleading guilty to a single count of racketeering conspiracy, known as RICO, in December. Bifield has past felony convictions for possession of a firearm by a felon, extortion, heroin possession in prison, escape from prison, and attempted money laundering.

He spent more than two decades in prison before his most recent arrest. He has been in jail since his June arrest. He faced a maximum of 20 years.

Bifield’s drug deal with an informant in 2011 started a wave of law enforcement action that infiltrated the motorcycle club and brought the eventual arrests and seizure of pounds of drugs, almost a hundred weapons, and other assets including motorcycles, court documents show. Prosecutors argued the Hells Angels ran a “gang” of statewide crime from their York County and Lexington County clubhouses.

Bifield, from Batesburg-Leesville in Lexington County but originally from the Northeast, was defiant to the end before sentencing. Bifield, who proudly stated in a statement to the court that he has been a Hells Angels member for 38 years, claimed in court documents filed just hours before he was sentenced in U.S. District Court that the FBI and the informant and prosecutors were the bad guys who set up the Hells Angels for the crimes.

The Hells Angels “is not a criminal enterprise” and never was, Bifield claimed in court documents.“We are Americans, proud of our country, and we will fight and die for our country,” Bifield stated.More, Bifield stated, “I am a proud member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and, if I am to be punished for it and die in prison, let it be!”

Bifield will be 78 years old before he is eligible to get out of prison.

Prosecutors declined comment Wednesday. But in court documents, and in court testimony, prosecutors have balked at Bifield’s claims of being a victim. Authorities have described him as a career criminal and “ringleader” in the Hells Angels crime ring who tries to “game” the system repeatedly after getting caught in felony crimes that included demanding kickbacks from underlings who sold drugs.

Bifield’s wife, Lisa, also pleaded guilty to a weapons charge. Lisa Bifield defaulted on a deal to testify against other Hells Angels for a possible shorter sentence of five years. She faced up to life in prison.

Prosecutors declined comment after Wednesday’s hearing, pending the sentencing June 19 of three more Hells Angels convicted in the case. Of 20 Hells Angels and associates charged, 15 either pleaded guilty or were found guilty at trial.

Mark “Lightning” Baker, the Rock Hill chapter president, and two other full-patch members of the “Rock Hell Nomads” chapter who opted to go to trial, will be sentenced June 19. They could face up to life in prison after being convicted of violent crimes ranging from conspiracy to drug and weapons charges.